On March 22, World Water Day will continue to draw our attention to the pressing issue of global water supply.
We’ve written about World Water Day before and its efforts to bring attention to the more than 1.2 billion people who lack access to safe drinking water. This year, the UN will focus the day’s events on water sanitation. According to the UN, 2.6 billion people lack access to proper water sanitation, which kills nearly 1.8 million children a year.
According to a CSM report, the problem of water quality and quantity is accelerating: “climate change is expected to exacerbate the problem as it alters rainfall patterns and a new UN study shows that as temperatures have warmed, the world's glaciers have begun retreating at accelerating rates and may disappear entirely within a few decades. China, India, and the West Coast of the United States are among populous places that rely on glacial meltwater for their water supply. Glaciers feed some of the world's great rivers, such as the Ganges, Yellow, and Mekong, which serve 1.5 billion people.”
There are lots of good organizations out there working to solve this problem. One such organization is WaterAid America, which works in more than 17 countries to provide water, sanitation and hygiene education through community participation and low cost, appropriate technology. Watch Water for Life to learn more.
The UN’s millennium developmental goal is to reduce the number of people who have no access to basic sanitation in half by 2015, which is estimated to cost approximately $10 billion annually. If you think an $80 billion price tag to give more than half a billion people access to clean water seems a bit steep, then think again – Americans alone spent $15 billion on bottled water (more than we spent on iPods) last year. For more on the bottled water industry debate, check out this Alternet story.
To fill your brain with new thoughts on how to quench global thirst, check out the American Museum of Natural Historysite at 12 p.m. EST on World Water Day for a live webcast of panel discussions concerning water problems facing New York City, developing countries and the global community.
Dean Kamen appeared on The Stephen Colbert Show last night to show his machine that will help people all over the world gain access to clean, sanitary water.